It’s John C. Reilly’s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are five great movies from the delightful actor.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
The lasting legacy of Walk Hard is as bittersweet as it gets. Upon initial release, the film was a major flop, underperforming with critics and at the box office. The lack of success caused John C. Reilly to question his abilities as a leading man. Which is quite the bummer, because this movie has gained a well deserved cult-like following in the years since it’s release. It might be the greatest genre parody film of all time and is somehow one of the best music biopics of all time. Walk Hard should have made John C. Reilly a household name as a comedic star. It remains a shame that we never gave him that chance.
Step Brothers (2008)
Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly reached the peak of comedic brilliance with one of the silliest concept comedies ever made. Step Brothers confirmed Ferrell and Reilly as the funniest on screen duo in decades. Each viewing is funnier than the last. Reilly’s Dale owns the highlight moment of the film when he sings the following at the dinner table:
if you wanna get down on these hairy balls,
why don’t you jump right in,
it’s a crotch party right up in here,
why don’t you lick on this big john
Hard Eight (1996)
Before he solidified himself as one of the best comedic actors in Hollywood, Reilly got his start as a fairly respectable dramatic actor. One of his strongest early performances came in Paul Thomas Anderson’s directorial debut, Hard Eight, where Reilly plays an overly ambitious gambler who gets in over his head in a dicey situation. Anderson clearly noticed the star power potential in Reilly when casting him in the lead role. Reilly would go on to be featured in PTA’s next two projects, Boogie Nights and Magnolia, but in much slightly smaller, but nonetheless significant roles.
Gangs of New York (2002)
Speaking of respectable dramatic acting, one of the most surprising Reilly performances pops up in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. It’s a pretty small role, but it leaves a lasting impression. Mostly because Reilly’s distinct voice and generally jolly nature feels so out of place in 19th Century New York City. Reilly, however, is able to hold his own in scenes with both Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day Lewis – something that not most working actors can boast about doing. That’s gotta count for something.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Before teaming up for Step Brothers, Mckay, Ferrell, and Reilly created comedy gold with Talladega Nights. While Reilly is mainly playing second fiddle to Ferrell, he’s offered some moments to steal the show. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t disappoint. Reilly’s ability to perfectly play across Will Ferrell makes for some classic comedic moments. I hope we can one day see the two reunite for some more comedic genius.
What are some of your favorite films to feature John C. Reilly?